STURGIS, S.D. - Rick Fairless, "Still" Ray Fitzgerald, Bill Gikling and others will be inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame and Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame during ceremonies this August in South Dakota.
"The Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame is designed to recognize individuals or groups who have made a long-term positive impact on the motorcycle community," the museum announced. "The Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame recognizes the commitment and sacrifices individuals across the nation, and world, have made to protect the rights of motorcyclists. For 2013, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame will honor one Freedom Fighter and induct five into the Sturgis Hall of Fame."
"Still" Ray Fitzgerald will be the 2013 inductee into the Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame. Fitzgerald first became involved in motorcyclist rights when he lived in Nevada. He was a charter member of the Nevada Association of Concerned Motorcyclists and worked through that organization to support candidates sympathetic to motorcycle causes. Later, when he moved to Arizona, Fitzgerald helped to successfully build a number of ABATE chapters in that state.
Fitzgerald has served as an officer of ABATE of Arizona, and was the Motorcycle Rights Foundation’s first Sustaining Motorcycle Club Representative. He has been awarded the MRF Presidents Silver Cup and the organization’s most prestigious award, the John “Farmer” Eggers award for efforts supporting the mission of the MRF. Fitzgerald serves as president of The Journeymen’s Motorcycle Club and chairman of the Arizona Confederation of Clubs.
Russ Brown has been involved in the motorcycle community for more than 35 years, championing motorcycle rights and serving as an attorney for motorcyclists, and will be inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Brown created BAM, a free breakdown and legal assistance service for motorcyclists which reportedly now has 2 million members. The program is a volunteer effort in which members are available to assist each other in the event of a breakdown or other emergency roadside need. Brown has spearheaded other efforts in the motorcycle world; his most recent effort is a new “Keep Me Alive, Don’t Text and Drive” campaign to encourage safe driving habits.
Rick Fairless spent 20 years in the paint industry before taking a chance on opening his own motorcycle shop, an Easyriders franchise in Dallas. He wanted his shop to be a destination for all motorcycle enthusiasts, regardless of what kind of motorcycle they rode or even if they rode a motorcycle at all, so he added Strokers Ice House Bar & Grill. In 2002, when Easyriders ended its franchise program, Fairless changed the name of his shop to Strokers Dallas. Since then, he's added Strokers Ink, a tattoo and piercing parlor and RF Custom Parts. On weekends, Rick’s Strokers Dallas “empire” welcomes between 1,000 and 2,000 people.
In addition to being a successful business owner, Fairless is a master bike builder, a columnist for Dealernews, host of his own radio show, a motivational speaker and a family man. Rick's custom motorcycles have been featured around the world.
Bill Gikling, who will receive the J.C. "Pappy" Hoel Outstanding Achievement Award, grew up in Rapid City, S.D. He worked at the local Honda dealership, and rode in local races, hill climbs and other events. In 1977, he scraped together enough money to purchase North West Sports – a Yamaha and Harley-Davidson dealership. For the next 20 years, he grew the dealership before splitting the Harley-Davidson and Yamaha divisions into two separate stores. Over the years, Gikling worked with Pappy Hoel to start the White Plate Flat Trackers and the original museum and Hall of Fame in Sturgis. He also secured greater involvement from the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Gikling sold the Harley-Davidson stores in Rapid City and Sturgis in 2000 but still works with his son, Todd, at Black Hills Power Sports in Rapid City. (continued)